April 2015

By: Brian Russell

Save Our Uniquely Rural Community Environment v. County of San Bernardino (March 18, 2015, E059524) ___Cal.App.4th ___.

Plaintiff and appellant Save Our Uniquely Rural Community Environment (SOURCE) appealed an award of attorney fees in a case arising under CEQA. It contended that the trial court abused its discretion when it awarded $19,176, despite SOURCE’s request for $231,098.

Continue Reading California Courts Are Provided Broad Discretion When Awarding “Reasonable” Legal Fees Under CEQA

By Glen C. Hansen

In Pulido v. Pereira (2015) 234 Cal.App.4th 1246, the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District held that the prohibition for a public recreational easement on private property in Civil Code section 1009 did not preclude property owners from acquiring a prescriptive easement over a road on a neighbor’s property that they used to access their own land for private recreational purposes, where such owners were not engaging in any recreation on the neighbor’s property or passing through it to access a public recreational area.

Continue Reading Statutory Prohibition Against Acquiring Public Recreation Easements By Prescription Does Not Apply Where The Easement Is Used By Private Persons To Access Their Own Property That They Use For Recreational Purposes

[For Immediate Release] Abbott & Kindermann announced today that noted television commentator Jon Stewart is joining Abbott & Kindermann’s blog team as a guest editor. “We are very pleased to have Mr. Stewart bring his writing talents to our blog. Mr. Stewart has graciously agreed to undertake an advisory role to our publication. As our long time readers will acknowledge, Bill Abbott’s humor tends to be so nuanced; that only a handful of readers really understand his jokes. Mr. Stewart is universally recognized as a skilled humorist. With Mr. Stewart’s help, we think we will reach a much broader audience, and our blogs will be immediately distinguishable from those of our peers” said partner Diane Kindermann. “I would like to add that Mr. Stewart has long sought to master the subtleties of the Latin phrases that judges and attorneys like to use, so professionally it is a win-win for Mr. Stewart and our firm.” Mr. Stewart volunteered, “While this is a pretty small assignment in the world of comedy, I am looking forward to mastering judicial humor. No one else has.” Mr. Abbott is away at a joke writing camp and is unavailable for comment.

By Katherine J. Hart

Charles Conway Jr v. State Water Resources Control Board (March 30, 2015, B252688) ___ Cal.App.4th ___.

Functionally equivalent CEQA documents can be tiered in a manner similar to a regular EIR. This new CEQA decision involved a basin plan amendment (BPA) establishing a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants allowed in McGrath Lake. The BPA/TMDL was adopted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) and approved by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Landowners who own a portion of the lake were allocated a load under the TMDL, which would make them responsible for remediation of the lake pollution. The landowners challenged the Boards’ adoption of the TMDL on two grounds: first, that the Regional Board improperly set load allocations for concentrations of pollutants contained in the lake bed sediment, and that a TMDL can only regulate the movement of pollutants in the water column; and (2) that the Regional Board failed to comply with CEQA. The trial court denied the plaintiffs’ claims and the appellate court affirmed.

Continue Reading First Tier Functionally Equivalent CEQA Document Upheld for Adoption of Basin Plan Amendment and TMDL Standard